(Photo credit: Government of Saskatchewan website)

The Saskatchewan Ministry of Environment has launched an educational campaign to reduce the number of illegal dump sites in the province, in recognition of Canadian Environment Week.

They will be focusing on northern areas that experience a disproportionate amount of illegal dumping.

“Illegal dumping remains a significant challenge – one that threatens public health, damages the environment and harms our communities,” Environment Minister Christine Tell said. “We hope this campaign encourages communities to protect natural spaces, reduce clean-up costs and send a clear message that we value our environment.”

Canadian Environment Week is from June 2 – 8, and it is a time to reflect on the environmental issues and impacts.

This campaign focuses on the negative effects illegal dumping has and highlights the importance of proper waste disposal.

“We take illegal dumping very seriously,” Conservation Officer Troy Hilts said. “It is important we all do our part to keep wildlife and people safe. Piling up of garbage can contaminate water, harm aquatic life and degrade habitat quality. If you can provide information on an illegal dump site that leads to a conviction, you are eligible for a reward, similar to Crime Stoppers. The more details you can include in your report, the more likely it will lead to a conviction.”

A hefty fine can also be handed out for improper disposal of waste. Fines start at $580 for individuals and go up to $1,400 for businesses. In severe cases, a court appearance may be necessary. Followed by clean-up of the materials and proper disposal at an approved waste disposal site at their cost.

It is also against the law to leave out attractants, like food waste. Failure to manage attractants can result in fines under The Wildlife Regulations.

The Ministry of Environment’s key focus in 2024-25 is to continue with clean-up of illegal dump sites in northern Saskatchewan.

Some tips from the Ministry of Environment are: Dispose responsibly, use designated waste disposal sites and recycling facility; Don’t burn waste, burning plastic releases chemicals that can cause long-term health problems; Spread the word, educate others.

If you suspect someone is dumping or burning mixed waste unlawfully, please call the TIPP line at 1-800-667-7561.

For more information about illegal dumping, visit saskatchewan.ca/illegal-dumping